About Me


Dick DeBartolo, MAD's Maddest Writer, and co-host of The Giz Wiz at GizWiz.TV, The Giz Wiz on ABC's World News Now, and on Tech Guy Labs with Leo Laporte on TWiT.tv. But wait, there's More »

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    The Giz Wiz & Gizneyland Studio

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    An inexpensive gadget that can charge your EXPENSIVE gadgets!

    Daily Giz Wiz, Week of March 29, 2010, Netcast 1056

    I bought one of these gadgets after I received one of those “Deal of the Day” email offers. It was about $12, including shipping. The device is called the Encore Music Power Dual USB Port Charger. Although the battery is not marked with its actual capacity it was advertised as the “Extended Rechargeable Battery”. This is the only device charger I know of that has a replaceable battery. That’s the good news. The bad news is there is no place listed to buy a replacement battery for this unit. But for the price, it’s still a good deal. The company says the rechargeable battery from Encore provides extended play for your iPod or other audio player provided it charges with a USB cable. It doubles your runtime and provides 2 USB charging ports to keep you powered up where ever you are. (Provided you charged the Encore!) It’s a fairly thin unit with a folding AC plug in the back for greater portability. On one website it says: 500mA output at each USB port and on another website it says 500mA output at the USB port. There’s one LED light that changes from green to yellow to red to give an idea of the amount of power left. The unit is totally self-contained and you provide the USB charging cables for your devices. Just before we recorded this Daily Giz Wiz episode I thought I’d check to see if the price was still $12. Surprise! I found it for a lot less! It's just $8.54 at Wal-Mart! This seems like a really decent price for a unit you can easily carry around to charge several different portable devices. I read a large number of customer reviews and most everyone was very happy with their purchase. There was one negative comment, which I also found with this unit. It doesn’t sense when the unit it’s hooked to is fully charged. If you don’t disconnect when your phone or MP3 player when it shows fully charged, the Encore stays on until its battery dies. It’s not a deal breaker, just something to keep in mind. You just need to recharge it again.  


    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw1056


    Here’s a gadget from the warehouse that’s still very much in production!

    Friday March 26nd, 2010, Netcast 1055 Back to Dick's Gadget Warehouse!

    Before I tell you the name of the product, here’s a little background on this company. Around 1999 a major apparel brand customer asked FiberLok to increase its capacity and expand their factory in order to handle more business from them. (The company was mainly embroidering graphics for a wide range of national customers like UPS.) After two years and a $2 million expansion this apparel brand announced it was moving sourcing to Central America and Asia. That left the company to determine how to survive. Fiberlok President and product inventor L. B. Abrams was charged with developing a way to use and pay for the new capacity. Combining a previous work stint with the Rug Corporation of America with a passion for well-designed textile graphics, the idea came to L.B. Abrams to bring his career around full circle by returning to the rug business with the development of MouseRugs. MouseRugs look and feel just like giant floor rugs, but they’re just big enough to provide ‘floor space’ for your mouse, about 7 x 12 inches, including fringe! There are a huge variety of MouseRugs, and new designs are constantly added as old ones are retired. I have about 3 MouseRugs that I’ve been using for about 8 years! Another the company makes is Wrist Rugs, tiny rugs that cover the write support on your laptop! MSRP of a MouseRug is $19.95. (But if you do a web search you can find them at a discount.) 


    I saw them here for $16.95, but I haven’t shopped here: http://www.christalaccents.com/ormomopadde.html

    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw1055


    Tame that Beast of a giant HDTV with this magic wand!

    Thursday March 25th, 2010, Netcast 1054 

    Don’t worry; The Wand tames Low Def TV’s too! Didn’t you wish you were a wizard when you were a kid? Or even right now as an adult? Well, guess what? You can be a wizard in a very short time! Imagine the surprise (and yes, the envy) on your friend’s faces when you say: “Let’s watch TV”. Then you pick your magic wand wave it at the flat screen and the picture springs to life! Another wave and you change channels, adjust the volume, do whatever you want. The Wand is the ultimate device when you want to be in control. But is it truly magic? (Yeah, right!) Of course now, but it’s wildly clever! The Wand can learn up to 13 commands from your existing remote controls and key them to particular magical motions. Flick the wand from side to side to flip the channels, twist the wand to turn up the volume, etc. Yes, there is a learning curve, but once you master the movements, you will be a real wizard to all those around you! The Wand helps you learn by vibrating in your hand. As you learn each movement properly, the wand will vibrate the number of times indicated on the included instruction sheet. Then the Wand vibrates to tell you each time it has learned a function from your remote control correctly. It can learn from pretty much any IR remote in your house and once you master its 13 movements, you can mastermind a symphony of electronic enjoyment from the comfort of your couch. It’s compatible with almost all makes of TV, DVR, or really anything with an IR remote! Buttons are sooooooooooooooo out. Wands are in! $89.99 


    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw1054


    Avoid that ‘sick feeling’ when you realize you left your Bluetooth enabled cell phone behind.

    Wednesday March 24nd, 2010, Netcast 1053 

    ZOMM can come to the rescue if you leave your cell phone behind. It’s called the world’s first Bluetooth wireless leash for mobile phones. With billions of mobile phones being used worldwide, thousands of people walk away and accidentally leave their phone behind on a daily basis. (See, you’re not alone!) If you forget your cell phone (it must be Bluetooth enabled) ZOMM will first start blinking the built-in LED lights, then sound an alarm if you walk away even further from your mobile phone. That way you know you have to go back for it. I tried the ZOOM at the Gizneyland studio. After I paired my EnV3 Bluetooth phone with the ZOMM, I left the phone on my desk and walked out the door with the ZOOM. About 30 feet away, the unit started vibrating and blinking. I kept walking. About 50 feet away the alarm went off. It worked fine! But wait there’s more! The device itself also features call notification with speakerphone, a panic alarm and a feature that allows you to call emergency assistance from anywhere with just a press of a button. (I didn’t try those last features.) ZOMM is about the size of a very fat poker chip and easily attaches to a key ring. Or you can carry it in your pocket or purse. There’s also clip in the kit so you can even attach it clothing or workout gear. But wait. There’s still more!  With call notification, ZOMM will vibrate, flash lights and provide a sound alert for incoming calls when your mobile phone is out of sight; in a purse, gym bag or in a noisy environment. To answer a call just press a button and ZOMM is a fully functioning speakerphone. To send to voice mail, just press the multifunction button twice. As a personal security device, ZOMM will sound a panic alarm and/or call for emergency assistance. You can speak to emergency personnel without ever touching your mobile phone via the built in speakerphone. It uses a lithium-ion battery that should last about 3 days with a single charge. It comes with a standard micro USB wall charger and a micro USB charger. You can pre-order ZOMM now in black or while, but it won’t be shipping for another month or two. $79.99. 


    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw1053


    A piece of equipment you won’t run out and buy, but very interesting!

    TTTT Tuesday March 23nd, 2010, Netcast 1052  A super high tech Turn The Table Tuesday gizmo.

    This is the basic unit that goes into the 22 pound backpack.Leo has been doing some amazing live broadcasting lately. It started at CES when he was able to roam through various tech exhibits and transmit live video. Recently he set a new world’s record (Leo has a badge to prove it) for the “longest live-streamed crowd surf.” He surfed the Diggnation crowd at SXSW. The equipment he used is from LiveU. LiveU opens a new era in live content by using six different wireless cards from 3 different carriers, picking the best reception from any of the six wireless cards from second to second for seamless streaming. As I said you’re not going to run out and buy this equipment because it costs tens of thousands of dollars. But you might be up for renting it if you’re a podcast producer. Here’s some info from their website: LiveU designs, develops and provides a real-time Video Uplink Solution at broadcast quality which provides instant setup time, connects to any video camera and allows going live in seconds. LiveU frees video broadcasting from uplink limitations and allows the color and excitement of live broadcasts to be shared by TV Broadcasters, Web Portals and Video Prosumers, anywhere, anytime. Now back to me! I assume the “anywhere, anytime” means “anywhere, anytime there is a wireless signal available”. But what they allow broadcasters to do sure is amazing! Leo is so excited about this equipment; he’s planning on “live TWiT broadcasting” from many other live events this year. 


    See the now world famous “live Leo crowd surf”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODDxiTExRRg

    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw1052